The Preston Temple has been closed due to annual maintenance for several weeks now, and coupled with Covid closures, it may have been some time since you have been able to attend.
Hopefully this time has given you an opportunity to seek out ancestors through Family History work and submit names, ready to perform ordinances on their behalf.
The Temple will reopen on October the 20th.
Since the 19th of July I have had a unique opportunity to see “behind the scenes” and experience life as a contracted part of the maintenance staff. Although closed for ordinances there has been a constant stream of refurbishment projects “quietly” underway. Kilometres of data cables have been carefully installed and hidden away. Carpets and fabrics replaced. Rooms have been decorated and everywhere lovingly deep cleaned. Oxen herded to one side for the baptistry to be painted and then reinstated. Boilers, pipework and valves serviced and replaced. A full electrical inspection and upgrade of many light fittings, to name just a few things that many, perhaps will not even notice.
My role has been to work for the Temple Facilities Assistants (TFAs) formerly known as the temple engineers. Remembering that the temple has not been “decommissioned” everything is done as reverently and thoughtfully as possible. The day starts with a prayer and planning meeting, and many assignments last for days – sometimes weeks. This principal of a dedicated team looking after the temple is not new to this dispensation.
“Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded.” (Exodus 36:1)
As I have come to know each of the TFAs it would not be wrong to consider renaming the department WHM for they are each Wise Hearted Men always ready to help each other and offer solutions to problems.
There have also been contractors within the temple who are not of our faith. Due to sacred nature of the temple and the normal requirement of holding a recommend to enter, these contractors are constantly accompanied by an army of cheerful volunteer chaperones, many of whom are the temple ordinance workers you will know. Missionary opportunities have arisen.
Probably the highlight so far for me has been the opportunity to spend literally weeks, often alone, in the 4 sealing rooms. Following the columns beams, altars and doors being sanded and resprayed, one of my jobs has been reapplying the hundreds of meters of 24ct gold leaf pinstripes. It would be inappropriate of me to share pictures taken in the temple, but to give you an idea the following is an official church picture of a sealing room in the Haiti Temple.
If you look closely you will make out thin gold lines around the windows and tops of the walls. It is not the first time gold leaf has adorned temple altars
“And Bezaleel made the bark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it: And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about.” (Exodus 37:1-2)
Its very hard not to ponder things that really matter, relationships and family, when you are applying gold lines knelt at a sealing room altar for hours at a time.
These special rooms are where families are sealed together for “time and all eternity” The beauty of that possibility, outshines even the beauty of the décor.
What is the next ordinance you can attend the Temple to perform after October the 20th ? Are you preparing to receive ordinances for yourself or do you have work to do for your departed family?
The Temple is being beautified as an expression of Worship to the Lord, but I am sure he would have us wear it out in service.